Midway Police Chief Kelli Morningstar’s missing 16-year-old daughter, Alexis Maureen Morningstar, was found safe Friday morning in a Jacksonville department store and has been returned to her mother.
Alexis Morningstar had not been seen since Monday morning.
In a Facebook posting Friday, Midway Police Officer Mark Rich described the search for Alexis Morningstar similar to finding a needle in a haystack. In a telephone interview Friday, Midway Police Officer Duvale Page said he and Rich went to Jacksonville on Friday morning in search of the teen, armed only with the knowledge she had made a purchase at a Belk store on Thursday in a local mall.
Page said the lead came when Kelli Morningstar found a receipt for Belk gift card her grandmother had given the teen for Christmas. The chief called Belk to see if the card had been used recently, and she was told it had been used recently in a Jacksonville mall.
When Page and Rich went to the loss-prevention office at Belk, they were shown surveillance video of Alexis Morningstar making a purchase.
When the officers left the department store to search area hotels, they looked at the angles of the surveillance cameras outside the mall in the hopes of determining the direction she may have gone. As they made their way to the mall’s security office to view the tapes, they received a call from Belk’s loss-prevention office that Alexis Morningstar had returned to the department store to make another purchase.
The officers rushed to the department store, and the teen was spotted and secured to return her to her mother.
Kelli Morningstar posted on Facebook, “No flowers or candy could ever compare to what Mark Rich and Duvale Page are bringing me for Valentine’s Day this year. My daughter has been located in Jacksonville, Florida, and will be returning shortly.”
Kelli Morningstar also thanked the community for their help and prayers in her daughters return.
Alexis Morningstar had not been since about 7:45 a.m., when her mother dropped her off at Liberty County High School. For several days, there had been no activity on her social-media pages. Page personally offered a $1,000 reward for information that led to Alexis’ safe return. The reward money was not collected.